Discussion Topic 1 – Human Rights and You



Human rights are part of all our lives, yet they can be difficult to describe. In B.C., the Human Rights Code helps to protect you from discrimination and harassment. The personal characteristics protected in the Code may apply to certain situations only, and include:
 
Race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age (19 and older), criminal conviction, political belief, and lawful source of income.
 
Essentially, human rights are a responsibility we all share to respect each other.
 
As we begin this online public discussion, I want to start by listening. I want to hear your stories and work to understand the role of human rights in the lives of British Columbians.
 
I believe stories bind us. They are a reminder not only of the ways our lives are different, but of the very human ways we are connected. Sharing our stories raises awareness about issues others may have limited experience with. Using our voices can inspire others to use theirs, and telling our stories can urge those who aren’t accustomed to sharing their own to join the conversation.
 
I want to hear about the lived experiences that inform your outlook on human rights. You have a unique perspective, and I look forward to reading through your responses and sharing some of my own thoughts as we set out on this discussion together.
 
Which of the above Human Rights Code grounds have played a role in your own life?
 
– Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism & Sport
 
 

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253 responses to “Discussion Topic 1 – Human Rights and You

    User avatar
    [-] Ilana

    There needs to be a ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ youth. It has already been banned in Ontario and Manitoba. and it would be great if B.C. committed to this next.

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    [-] Teresa

    Our adult son has been ill with Schizophrenia for the past 10 years. His father and I are his main support. The illness is difficult but getting him help when he needs it is even harder. We are thankful he does not have any addictions. His most recent bout of psychosis lasted over 3 years before he was finally hospitalized. When I asked the health care team what I could have done better to get him help sooner I was told I had done everything right. Our son was the sickest of the sickest but because he wasn’t the sickest of the sickest of the sickest he wasn’t sick enough. Our experience is that there are excellent staff in mental health but there aren’t enough staff or beds. The expectation is that once a person is on the medications to keep them well enough there are good to go. Get a job, live on their own, take up their lives. This is not the case. Medication compliance is an ongoing issue for many, stress plays a role in the onset of the illness regardless of whether or not the person is medically compliant so they can be taking their medication but can get ill again due to stress or the illness getting worse. A person in psychosis desperately needs to be protected from themselves and this is not happening. The brain which is the source of rationality and decision making does not work properly in people with severe mental illnesses. Their brains are broken. Ongoing support is needed in the way of supported housing as is done with our elderly to ensure each person is medically compliant. This will keep the person, the caregivers and the community at large safe for everyone.
    Every person in BC deserves the right to medical attention to either keep them well or safe regardless of whether or not the person has the insight to know whether or not they need help. Most people with schizophrenia, bi-polar, severe depression and other serious mental illness do not have enough awareness to know how ill they are. This lack of awareness is called Anosognosia and it has been well documented but not thoroughly recognized by the mental health care teams – doctors in particular.
    Each community needs permanent facilities to support people with severe mental illnesses. South Hill Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centre in Kamloops in an excellent example but it is only a temporary solution. BC needs permanent solutions of this same type of facility.

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    [-] Corey

    I was discriminated against by a public university and a public school district one time because I have autism. My autism causes me to be bluntly honest, and my blunt honesty unintentionally offended a teacher supervising me in my first teacher education practicum. She kicked me out of the classroom and the principal of that school phoned other schools in the region, to make sure they didn’t take me on as a student teacher. I can’t help having a disability and I didn’t like being refused access to an education program due to my disability.

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    [-] Terri-Lynn

    Public Inquiry into Worksade BC.
    Offence Wording
    Criminal negligence
    219. (1) Every one is criminally negligent who
    (a) in doing anything, or
    (b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
    shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.
    Definition of “duty”
    (2) For the purposes of this section, “duty” means a duty imposed by law.
    R.S., c. C-34, s. 202.

    – CCC
    Causing death by criminal negligence
    220. Every person who by criminal negligence causes death to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
    (a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and
    (b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.
    R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 220; 1995, c. 39, s. 141.

    – CCC
    Causing bodily harm by criminal negligence
    221. Every one who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.
    R.S., c. C-34, s. 204.

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    [-] Bennett

    There are little to no Human Rights for fathers in BC Family Court.

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    [-] Darryl

    I would even go one step beyond that, and say that the current enforcement model does not work. The one shoe fits all approach, does not work for many of us that work in a contract or part time world. The crushing debt it creates, the penalties involved, combined with a complete absence of direction or help for loving fathers, is all incredibly unfair. A friend once stated, “they chop your legs off at the knees, and ask you to run a marathon!”

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    [-] steph

    Chronic Lyme disease is an illness that hundreds of thousands of people are forced to navigate on their own without the help of Dr’s. Because the medical community will not recognize this illness we are forced to go to the United States and seek medical help. We are forced to be our own diagnostician, medical researcher, investigater and then be ridiculed by all the medical community locally in B.C. The science hasn’t been learned yet but thousands suffer significantly being unable to work and unable to access any long term disability payments. We are forced to pay U.S. Dr’s out of our own pockets. Don’t tell me lyme isnt in B.C. – bitten right here in Vancouver.
    If this is not a form of human rights violation then I don’t know what it.

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    [-] Dee

    I too had (or have … as I went through chemo … I have not had my blood tested again) lyme … I had to send my blood to the states for their test … and it came back positive … I have another friend in Alberta with lyme disease … virtually no support in Canada for this terrible, wide spread , unacknowledged disease

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    [-] Irene

    Hello, I am currently being affected by my place of origin. I was seriously injured internally, in a motor vehicle accident February 19, 2015. I have had so many medical tests done. and have found the only minimally invasive surgeon. I have been on the wait list since. Just recently, I received a call. The hours of surgical procedures have been cu back by the province. Now my wait may be an additional 2 or 3 years. I have visited most emergency rooms in the north due to pain and constant vomiting. Once it starts there is no stopping it. I was told that if I lived closer to Vancouver that I would progress up the wait list faster. I do not have the funds to rent a place in the lower main land so that I can have my surgery. I am in my seventies and this waiting is serious impacting my will to live. I am told not to bend and there are so few things that can be done without bending. I have not been able to preserve food, garden, pick berries or knit. I cannot even do what is culturally required of me. That is attend feasts and serve at feasts. Please help me move up this wait list. At least give me a solution. God Bless

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    [-] Mike

    The human rights code focus lots on discrimination but does not include things like right to housing, dignity in treatment, health care, food, fair income or education. Lots of times my wife and I are told we have rights, but the reality is we don’t because there is no way to stop landlords immediately from saying no to families, stop mistreatment by health professionals or just get the rights we already have enforced. 6 months or more for a Human Rights case to be completed is too long and 2 months for a RTB hearing to only lose when you cannot afford to do your laundry elsewhere is too long.

    My wife and I avoid the hospital for treatment unless there is no other choice because we have often been treated without dignity, hurt physically and mentally or had to watch someone else be mistreated by hospital staff and we were not be able to do anything. Even standing up for each other with words, supporting someone, bringing origami paper or origami projects to the psych ward has resulted in security being called or being told that your not helping by telling staff to do their job; that is too much and abusive. We should be able to do something, at the very least have our phones to take videos of what is happening so it can be reported and the practices stopped; hospital staff will take your phone in psych wards and not allow outside communication.

    Second to that is our tenancy agreement which does not allow people under the age of 19, completely illegal right, but our landlord will still enforce the rule when our kid is born and we have no way of shutting down the illegal clause before our kid is born. So we may end up evicted without housing or have to give our kid up because we cannot find housing that accepts us, our assistance cats, our child, disability assistance, BC Housing’s rent supplement and our home-based craft business. Or the we give up our assistance animals to find housing because Canada does not recognise the need for assistance animals like in the United states’s Fair Housing Act and there is really no housing which accepts pets. The Fair Housing Act also allows landlords to be investigated.

    Our have a home-based craft business that provides side income, which is and is not protected technically under the act (source of income), is very important to keep but we still have to ask the landlord for permission to have our business and municipals are extremely varied on what type of zoning will allow our business which makes doing so very difficult. Creating your own business should be something that is more supported as a source of income and right because getting outside work is not usually accommodating and can be difficult to secure and maintain or even get for someone with disabilities.

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    [-] Zelpha

    Today is November 17, the last day to add to this commission. I have spoken earlier about my views of the effectiveness of BC’s Human Rights Code. However, I would like to restate my concerns, and though I be one person in this crowd to stand up in defense of my lifestyle, I am not alone. When one is in hiding for fear of prosecution, a true sample or human rights claim of those who live my lifestyle will be impossible to obtain. Bravely (or foolishly), I speak out for those who wish to stay anonymous. Again I repeat, I am a human being, I have feelings, I know who I am, and who I am not. I am not a monogamist. I love the support and friendship of women and a husband. I am a polygamist. Always have been, and always will be. If you put me in jail, I will still be a polygamist. Being a polygamist is not only an attribute of my faith, and my heritage, it is what I have chosen of my own free will and choice. Why? Because I have family, friendship, love and happiness. Is this not what we all seek? Please, do not judge my lifestyle by those who have been unsuccessful, for if this was the protocol, no one would have the freedom to enter into any form of relationship. We are all at risk of being hurt in our relationships, but the benefits must outnumber the harms because we all seek to connect. In my family I have the blessed opportunity to connect with many individuals. For this I am thankful. For each and every member is a precious part of my story. Thank you to the BC Human Rights Commission for giving me a safe place to speak my views.

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    [-] Brad

    I am the father of a transgender teenage son. I am glad that I live in a county and province that protects all people from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. For LGBTQ+ youth, initiatives in schools, such as SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) are amazing programs that are creating inclusive, safe environments for all students to attend schools in B.C. I am proud to be Canadian, and look forward to continued support towards all marginalized people! Canada is all about embracing and celebrating our diversities!

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    [-] Carol

    Not covered, source of income , no fixed address, visible unemployed, addiction ! Just tune into the Maple Ridge News for the threats and death suggestions !

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    [-] Mary

    I would really like the commission to start support students in the public education system because the current system forces parents into an ineffective and personally taxing situation that makes you want to run away and hide and just give up on fighting for your kids rights. I have been stuck in the “appeal process” with the school district for over a month now and I am very frustrated. I have gone from thinking my son was adequately supported, to having a OT do a swallowing assessment that she does not have the adequate skill or equipment to complete. The impact of her poor practice is that my son’s safety is not being met. I have had to pick up my son on a daily basis to feed him. The system doesn’t seem to be concerned about what is happening. In trying to advocate for my son I have been accused in person of harrassment, but when asked for clarfication their is misinformation provided, that this is not what happened and that this was not what was happening.
    Further I feel that it has been so extrodinarily time consuming to deal with this school system. They have set up things in a manner that not only risks my son safety at school, but now it appears that inadequate school services means that my son won’t be able to adequately access the at home program for supports at home either.
    I think most parents facing this concern are also forced to go with the school opinon, which some times is quite poor. Due to collective agreements there is nothing that can be done to keep my son safe at school. The process has seriously reduced the quality of care I would like to provide my son who has a serious feeding disorder, called dysphagia and can be life threatening.
    I would like some one to step in before the impacts of discrimination against my childs invisable disabilty to reduce the very negative impact this discriminatory action has on my family. Until the internal appeal process is completed I am forced to negotiate with a system that uses smoke and mirrors and cheap car salesman technics to reduce any effective form of accountablity. I wish you could help right now… I hope this commission comes soon!

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    [-] Equal

    Pretty much all of the listed except for criminal conviction. Human rights is not difficult. Equal rights for all, no exceptions. No discrimination and no preferences. I.e. affirmative action programs are discriminatory. Some have been legislated as non-discriminatory which is an insult to any person with an IQ over room temperature.

    Cancel all government programs that provide an advantage of any kind or provide it for all no exceptions. All things merit based.

    This blog asks me to volunteer my age and religion. It doesn’t matter. You are the Human Rights Commission and you can’t even get your blog right.

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    [-] Tanis

    I asked for help and did not receive it.

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    [-] Tye

    If asking for my age before I post is not discrimination, I don’t know what discrimination is. I find it sickening that it is placed on the form during a review of the Human Rights Code. Why is there an age selection on this? The point is my age should NOT matter, but even this review is saying it does. Might as well have the whole list to filled out “optionally” what race, religion, sex, blah blah are you so we can stick you in a group and pretend we know where you come from.

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    [-] charlotte

    I have always been encouraged to not disclose any of my disabilities either when applying for or after I get hired. This has made it so hard for so many experiences that may have turned out much better. The myth that all are treated equally and there is help for those with disabilities is just that a myth. I have physical as well as mental health concerns.

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    [-] charlotte

    Hiring practises have affected me, lack of good training on a new job, lack of proper supplies for the new person, lack of communication btwn supervisor or manager expecting the new person to just know the job short tempers and condescension, down right verbal abuse and being bullied not being able to understand or speak the language of majority in said work place.

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    [-] Paula

    Re: Race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age (19 and older), criminal conviction, political belief, and lawful source of income.
    I would like to take ALL of this above and make it clear that EQUAL OPPORTUNITY is first and foremost. NO ONE person is favoured because of ANY of the above. NOT favoured for race, not favoured for gender, not favoured for colour, and not favoured for political correctness. Competition for positions and placements should be encouraged and the person who comes out ahead in qualifications should get it. That is our RIGHTS in the hard fought war of EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. There is NO White Privilege card to be used AT ALL. Doesn’t matter if a person is white, was raised in a two parent household and played soccer as a kid. He/She has the same right to that position as a brown person from Pakistan. Equal Opportunity, the person who qualifies.
    I am so tired of racial quotas, affirmative action, and political correctness. It just breeds resentment, discord, entitlement issues and laziness. What person really likes favoritism? NO ONE!

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    [-] John

    The entire “Human Rights industry” appears to be based in identity politics which disregard the rights of certain minorities.
    Human Rights Commissions routinely have their decisions overturned in real courts, and as such, the process is suffering from a serious credibility problem.
    Yes, there absolutely needs to be a mechanism to prevent demonstrable discrimination based on demonstrable characteristics, (race, religion, etc), but that needs to be balanced by common sense.
    For example, exempting a restaurant employee from hand-washing/hygiene requirements based on some obscure tenet of their religion (as a previous ruling of the BCHRC did), holds the entire process up to ridicule, and diminishes its credibility.

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    [-] Shayla

    I feel like I have been most affected by sexism. From the administrator of my building talking over me when I’m speaking to my coworker telling me that I should have taken the time to put my makeup on (when I arrived late to work fresh faced) to getting a three day suspension for not wearing a hairnet when my manager failed to order any (though nothing was said to my male coworker with three inch hair). I have also been targeted due to activism for worker’s rights within the union. Both the employer and the union should be coming to the table as equals and that is not the case. Finally, I think there’s a lot of classism. If you do not work in an office and wear a suit you are considered a grunt or a labourer. Your contribution is seen as not meaningful. I was told by my administrator to “put your head down and do your job” which is just a horrible thing to say to anyone. I was also told by a care aide that I couldn’t wear a medical uniform because I work In the kitchen of a seniors home but I’m not really part of healthcare.

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